Marketing Jargon: Friend or Foe?

If you are not in-the-know when it comes to modern marketing jargon, you may as well stare at streaming code from the Matrix.

The Matrix

Paid search, buyer personas, SEO, content marketing, conversion rate… these terms mean little to people outside of the marketing world, but are crucial to those looking to capitalize on today’s seismic shifts in consumer behavior.

That’s fine though, right? Seriously, besides MBA students, marketing consultants and the marketing department, who really needs to understand marketing jargon?

Is ANYONE Outside of the Marketing World?

What if I told you that EVERY business owner is a marketer? EVERY sales person is a marketer, EVERY product developer is a marketer, EVERYONE is a marketer. (Looking for a job or working toward a dream promotion? Congrats, you are a marketer too.)

Confused 2

I’m not crazy. Just check out Google’s definition of marketing:


How can you promote and sell a product or service without developing it? Without conceptualizing it and building it from nothing to something?

How can a designer produce a successful product without an understanding of consumer behavior? Without an understanding of user experience? Without an understanding of the brand’s fundamental promises? EVERYONE is a marketer to some degree (good, bad or meh).

Some business are smart enough to staff and support a well-trained marketing department. IMHO, a successful marketing department provides a group of experts within an organization who disseminate brand and market knowledge, guiding the firm’s many departments through aspects of marketing that matter to each piece of the bigger picture.

Unfortunately, many small business owners opt-out of marketing, dismissing it as something that is nice-to-have… “we’ll get to it later.”

My theory is that jargon is a massive barrier to success for many business owners. Like this scene from 40 Year Old Virgin


Marketing has become a bit of a dirty word in some circles. Grumblings of failed campaigns, difficulty proving ROI, and time sinks are not uncommon when it comes to developing and executing marketing plans. Who really needs SEO or social media, right? Can’t we hire an intern for that?

The Jargon Paradox: Language Divides and Unifies

“It’s a strange world of language in which skating on thin ice can get you into hot water.”

Franklin P. Jones

Jargon is often the byproduct of change in an industry. However, jargon can also be used to manipulate unsuspecting business people. Therefore, jargon has the ability to bring people together or create a massive barrier between them.


Jargon isn’t necessarily the end of the world for businesses. But consider the fact that we are in uncharted territory right now. The rules are changing… you need to speak the right language or risk falling far behind.

It’s the End of the World (As We Know It)

Back to the heart of the matter: we are in the midst of a seismic shift in consumer behavior on a global scale… and this is unlike anything we have ever experienced. It’s part of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and there is nothing “FAD” about this shift.

According to the World Economic Forum:

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is characterized by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres.

This article There’s a FOURTH Industrial Revolution? by Brian Colwell shows how significantly this shift impacts the global economy. Technology and the physical materials required to make those Silicon Valley dreams reality are all impacted by the global shift to connectivity and consumerism.


This tiny device, this toy, this camera, this GPS system, this consumer must-have we call a smartphone has changed our world by modifying our behavior. Anyone who denies that smartphones have changed human behavior has either been living off, off, off the grid or is simply denying reality.

The training starts so young now, far earlier in life than adults living today experienced. Infants gaze into electronic devices, blue screens glowing, in-app advertisements popping. They press images and BAM! things happen. Developing minds left to soothe themselves with video games and videos delivered on-demand. Wonder what these young ones will turn into as full-fledged consumers?

Phone Face

Change Encourages Competition

The big brands are already onto this shift in human behavior. They were on this wave before it was even a ripple. They encouraged this wave of connectivity because digital is the ultimate oil for any high-performance marketing engine.

I guarantee you that the executive teams at firms such as Apple, Wal-Mart, and the like are well-versed in the most important marketing jargon. They understand the nuances of the digital customer experience and can discuss digital tactics at a high level. That’s why they get paid the big bucks, right?

Size Doesn’t Matter to Guerillas

According to The U.S. Small Business Administration:

The small business sector in America occupies 30-50% of all commercial space, an estimated 20-34 billion square feet.

If you occupy commercial space and have to make rent… put on your CMO hat because you’re a marketer whether you like it or not. This includes a host of business professionals such as private practice physicians & surgeons who traditionally shy away from “marketing” their services. (Although EVERY business owner is a marketer.)

Every business owner needs marketing in order to…


Now consider this: barrier to entry in the online space is actually low, IF you speak the language.

Guerilla Marketing Loves the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Small businesses are actually in a favorable position when it comes to Google’s and Bing’s continued focus on location-based search results. Here’s a recent Search Engine Land article that gives tips for Using Popular Culture to Drive Local Positioning. Savvy business owners at the local level can disrupt the big brands.

But you have to speak the language!

If you run a business and don’t know much about the following marketing strategies, please reach out. I’ll put you in touch with a professional. You might be missing out on the SECRET ingredient for growth in your business.

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Mobile-First Websites
  • Paid Digital Advertising
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Influencer Marketing

What do you think? Is marketing jargon friend or foe? Share your thoughts in the comments below!



2 Comments Add yours

  1. Awesome job! Fast read, fun conversation starter…

    Liked by 1 person

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